The High and Low Roads Inside Marantz's New Distribution Deal W
The web site says it all. On AVAD.com, Marantz is now listed among a plethora of manufacturers currently available to AVAD dealers nationwide. Featured among those are Sharp, Polk Audio and Bose. And though Marantz's inclusion may not signal anything unusual as far as the company being kept, for long-time Marantz dealers, being leveled by a wider base of custom installers may leave a sour taste. Then again, it depends on who you ask.
The new distribution arrangement that went into place as of December means that AVAD is now distributing Marantz lines of home entertainment products, including AV receivers, amplifiers, DLP projectors and plasma televisions, to "select" dealers within the network.
"For AVAD," says Joe Piccirilli, the group's managing director, "it's a terrific fit. Not only will it increase sales in the custom installation channel, but also among retailers. More people will see the brand and be exposed to the brand."
But not everyone is singing AVAD's praises.
Chuck Abbott, owner of Abbott's Audio & Video in Las Vegas, admits, ""Of course, it's always the emotional first reaction—I'm not very happy about it."
For Abbott, who bases his business on custom installation primarily, he says, "The only way it will affect my business is if it becomes an inventor availability issue. We already had an incident right before CES on that subject."
He explains that a particular Marantz item was placed in back order. He believes it was because of the initial AVAD buy in. As a result, he says, "It's going to be a wait and see. If it starts to cheapen the Marantz name in the marketplace, it's something we'll look at."
He's concerned about "the people AVAD sells to." At the same time, he admits, "I'm not as concerned as the retailers are. I don't really sell the Marantz product. I sell me; I sell my business. Probably 99 percent of our clients have no idea what's in their houses anyway."